Greg was the first friend of mine I could remember having divorced parents. Since I didn’t have to deal with the emotional fallout of the mess, my role was often to simply pull up a seat on the over-compensation gravy train and enjoy all the cool shit Greg’s parents heaped on him in exchange for them abdicating their full parental responsibilities.
These days, I’m the one spoiling – only it’s not my kids, it’s a shotgun. More precisely, it’s a 20-gauge Fox Sterlingworth that my wife’s grandfather (which would be my mother-in-law’s father) left in his estate.
The gun was supposed to go to my wife’s brother, Larry. Trouble is, Larry’s wife grew up in beautiful Hartford, Conn., where guns are bad – mmmmkay? So She Who Must Be Obeyed handed down a “no-guns” decree in Larry’s house and it ended up in my hands. For safe keeping, because it’s still Larry’s gun. Technically.
But you can’t keep a good gun down – and even though it’s choked tight and tighter, I trot the Sterlingworth out a couple of times a year (usually later in the season) and try to kill a bird or two with it. The gun is spoiled all right, spoiled because I don’t have the go-ahead to add it into the full-time rotation. So it sits for much of the year in my gun safe. It must be lonely and depressed. Sort of like Greg was when he was shuttled between parents.
Ideally, I’d like to have the stock refinished, I’d like to open up the bores a few hundredths of an inch and I’d like to make sure it fits me well. But I can’t. It’s Larry’s gun, and while it sees the grouse woods a couple of times each year, for the most part is just sits around waiting.
Maybe I should file for sole custody.